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Nation and world briefs


Archbishop Wenski: Deportations to Haiti ‘unconscionable’ amid violence, instability

MIAMI — A U.S. archbishop has denounced the Biden administration’s decision to resume deportations of Haitian migrants, given the rampant violence and instability in Haiti. “These deportations are unconscionable given the realities on the ground,” said Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami in a statement. On April 19, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it had “continued to facilitate removal flights of single adults (and) family units” between April 15-19, with Haiti among the destinations listed. Some 50 Haitian nationals were repatriated on an April 18 flight, the first such U.S. deportation to Haiti since January. Archbishop Wenski — whose archdiocese is home to an extensive and historic Haitian expatriate community — said that the U.S. government’s move equates to “sending people back into a burning house,” since Haiti has been ravaged by “increasing gang violence and (a) growing humanitarian and health crisis, with no real functioning government. He called instead for an expansion of the U.S. government’s Temporary Protected Status. (OSV News)

Probe of retracted FBI memo on ‘radical traditionalist’ Catholics finds ‘no evidence’ of religious bias

WASHINGTON — A review by the Department of Justice’s watchdog found “no evidence” of religious bias in the creation of a leaked and since-retracted FBI memo that suggested some “radical traditionalist” Catholics pose threats of racially or ethnically motivated violence. Members of Congress requested information about the document, ordering the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General to conduct a 120-day review. In an April 18 report detailing its investigation, the OIG said although “there was no evidence of malicious intent or an improper purpose,” the document “failed to adhere to analytic tradecraft standards and evinced errors in professional judgment,” creating “the appearance that the FBI had inappropriately considered religious beliefs and affiliation as a basis for conducting investigative activity,” and “reflected a lack of training and awareness concerning proper domestic terrorism terminology.” (OSV News)

Planned Parenthood report shows increase in abortion, decrease in health services

WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report shows an increase in abortions from the previous year, while also showing a decrease in health services. In its 2022-2023 annual report, titled “Above and Beyond,” detailed its operations from 2021-2022, a window of time that included the June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade and sent the abortion issue back to the legislature. Planned Parenthood performed 392,715 abortions in 2021-22, according to the report — an increase of about 18,000 from the previous report. For every adoption referral in 2021-22, Planned Parenthood performed approximately 228 abortions. Meanwhile, total cancer screening and prevention services — such as pap tests and HPV vaccinations — decreased by more than 6,000 since the previous report, from 470,419 to 464,021. (OSV News)

Pope Francis appoints diocesan priest as new auxiliary bishop of Sacramento

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Father Reynaldo Bersabal, a priest of the Diocese of Sacramento, California, as auxiliary bishop of Sacramento. Born in the Philippines, Bishop-designate Bersabal, 59, was ordained to the priesthood on April 29, 1991. He was incardinated into the Diocese of Sacramento in 2004. He currently serves as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Sacramento. The appointment was publicized in Washington April 20 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. (OSV News)


Pope meets head of Cisco as AI ethics pact continues to grow

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis met briefly April 24 with Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco Systems — the U.S. digital communications conglomerate — after Robbins signed on to the “Rome Call for AI Ethics,” a project coordinated by the Pontifical Academy for Life. Artificial Intelligence “is no longer a topic just for experts, and reflecting on the ethics of its development is more urgent than ever,” said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the pontifical academy and its RenAIssance Foundation, which promotes projects looking at the ethics of AI and its impact. Launched in 2020, the Rome Call originally brought together the pontifical academy, the leaders of Microsoft and IBM — two of the world’s leading developers of artificial intelligence software — the Italian government and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to promote ethical choices in developing the technology, legal standards in regulating it and education efforts to help people understand artificial intelligence and its role in a vast array of applications. (CNS)

Pope clears way for canonization of Oblates of the Holy Spirit founder

VATICAN CITY — As doctors were preparing to certify the brain death of a Brazilian man in 2010, members of a local Catholic charismatic prayer group began to pray for a miracle. Pope Francis recognized the healing of the man, “Paulo G.,” in Uberlandia, Brazil, as the miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Elena Guerra, an Italian nun who founded the Oblates of the Holy Spirit. The pope signed the decree April 13, but the Vatican has not announced a date for the canonization of the nun who, in 1959, was the first person beatified by St. John XXIII. Pope Francis also recognized the martyrdom of a priest, Father Gaetano Clausellas Ballvé, and a layman, Antonio Tort Reixachs, killed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, clearing the way for their beatification. (CNS)

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